Over the years Lee University has produced a number of outstanding men golf teams. Under the direction of former coaches Stanley Butler, Jack Souther and current coach John Maupin, the Flames have become known as a powerful force in NAIA golfing circles.
One thing, however, has been missing throughout all these successful years; Lee has never been host to a collegiate invitational golf tournament. When Maupin took over the program two years ago, he committed to bringing such a tournament to Cleveland within three years.
History will be made this week when the Flames host a 36-hole event called the Lee Invitational. Eleven teams will be taking part in the 36-hole event planned for the Cleveland Country Club Monday and Tuesday. There will be a practice round today.
“It is a great way to open our 2011 spring season,” said Maupin, who has his Flames ranked 14th in the preseason NAIA national poll. “I am really happy with the field that we have been able to put together for this first-year event. I think it says a lot about the strength of the field, with almost half of the teams ranked or receiving votes.”
The Flames, of course, will serve as host and Maupin plans to enter two-teams in the field.
Shorter University, ranked 11th in the preseason by the NAIA, will also bring two squads. The University of the Cumberlands (Williamsburg, Ky.) is listed as the NAIA’s 8th best, while Lindsey Wilson (No. 22), Reinhardt (No. 25) and Campbellsville University (No. 36). Faulkner University, Thomas (Ga.), Southern Wesleyan and Truett McConnell are also prepared to earn a piece of the championship pie.
“I am grateful to Cleveland Country Club for allowing us to host our first college tournament at their course,” noted Maupin. ”Neil Scott (CCC professional) and his staff have been a tremendous help.”
Maupin pointed out again that hosting such a tournament was a goal he had envisioned when he first became the Lee coach. “We have finally been able to accomplish that,” he said proudly. “Hosting this tournament is a great opportunity for our team to play in front of their friends and family. We are looking forward to the challenge of defending one of our home courses against a very strong field.”
Teams will begin teeing off just after 8 a.m. Monday (in competitive rounds) and the championship team, along with the medalist and all-tournament team will be recognized late on Tuesday afternoon. The public is invited to view two days of outstanding collegiate golf play.